RAND Corporation

To understand the role of employers in facilitating or impeding continued employment of older workers following onset of a work-limiting disability

  • Amount $609,511
  • City Santa Monica, CA
  • Investigator Nicole Maestas
  • Year 2011
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

The viability of the current Social Security system and its need for reform has been a topic of recent public and political concern. What has not been getting comparable public or political attention, however, is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which provides benefits to American workers who suffer from disabilities. SSDI's eligibility rules act as a major disincentive for continued employment for those applying for its benefits, since they provide income support and Medicare coverage to individuals with work-limiting disabilities only if they do not engage in substantial gainful employment. Yet despite this disincentive, some disabled workers continue working in some capacity. Funds from this grant will support research by the RAND Corporation to advance our understanding of how employer practices affect workers' continued employment after the onset of a work-limiting disability. Questions to be addressed by this research include: 1. How does workplace accommodation (with regard to how, when, and where work is done) affect the duration of continuing employment by an older worker following onset of disability? 2. How does health insurance coverage (availability, continuity, and source) and pension coverage (type and eligibility ages) affect the duration of continuing employment by an older worker following onset of disability? This project will rely on the longitudinal, cross-sectional data of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), which has detailed questions on health insurance, as well as employer accommodations, including work schedules and work modifications.

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